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Zhou Xiaochuan

Zhou Xiaochuan

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Zhou Xiaochuan (born January 29, 1948) is a Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

, banker, reformist and bureaucrat
Bureaucrat
A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can comprise the administration of any organization of any size, though the term usually connotes someone within an institution of a government or corporation...

. As governor of the People's Bank of China
People's Bank of China
The People's Bank of China is the central bank of the People's Republic of China with the power to control monetary policy and regulate financial institutions in mainland China...

 since December 2002, he has been in charge of the monetary policy
Monetary policy
Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interest for the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability. The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment...

 of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

.

He has previous held leading posts in trade and finance organizations such as Vice-Governor of the People's Bank of China
People's Bank of China
The People's Bank of China is the central bank of the People's Republic of China with the power to control monetary policy and regulate financial institutions in mainland China...

, Director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange
State Administration of Foreign Exchange
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the People's Republic of China is an administrative agency tasked with drafting rules and regulations governing foreign exchange market activities, and managing the state foreign exchange reserves, which at the end of July 2011 stood at $3.2 trillion...

, Governor of China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank is one of the 'big four' banks in the People's Republic of China. To date, it is ranked as the nation's second largest and the second largest bank in the world by market capitalization and 12th largest company in the world. The bank has approximately 13,629 domestic branches...

, and Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission
China Securities Regulatory Commission
The China Securities Regulatory Commission is an institution of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , with ministry-level rank...

. Zhou is associated with Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

 and the Shanghai clique
Shanghai clique
The Shanghai clique or Shanghai faction is the name given to an informal group of officials in the Communist Party of China, especially those who serve in the central government of the People's Republic of China or the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, who rose to prominence in...

 of politicians.

Zhou is one of the most influential economic figures in the world and was ranked 4th by Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy is a bimonthly American magazine founded in 1970 by Samuel P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel.Originally, the magazine was a quarterly...

in the Top 100 Global Thinkers report of December 2010.

Early life


Zhou Xiaochuan was born in Yixing
Yixing
Yixing is a county-level city in Jiangsu province, in eastern China with a population of 1.3 million. It is well-known for its Yixing clay and the pottery -- especially the "zisha"-style teapots -- made from the clay...

, Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

 province as the son of Zhou Jiannan
Zhou Jiannan
Zhou Jiannan was a politician and bureaucrat of Mainland China until his death in 1995.Zhou was born the third of four sons in Yixing, Jiangsu province. He graduated from Jiaotong University in Shanghai in 1937. After the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Zhou left Shanghai. By the end of...

 and Yang Weizhe (杨维哲). The elder Zhou, persecuted during the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

, became a member of the State Council and the Minister for Machinery Industry in the early 1980s. He was also said to have been one of the mentors of Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

.

Education


Zhou Xiaochuan graduated from Beijing Institute of Chemical Technology
Beijing University of Chemical Technology
Beijing University of Chemical Technology , abbreviated as BUCT, colloquially known in Chinese as Beihua or Huada , is one of the most outstanding universities in China. BUCT is founded in 1958 and is affiliated to the Ministry of Education...

 (now Beijing University of Chemical Technology) in 1975 and received a PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 degree in economic systems engineering from Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University , colloquially known in Chinese as Qinghua, is a university in Beijing, China. The school is one of the nine universities of the C9 League. It was established in 1911 under the name "Tsinghua Xuetang" or "Tsinghua College" and was renamed the "Tsinghua School" one year later...

 in 1985.

Family


Zhou is married to Li Ling who runs the Treaty and Laws department of China's Ministry Of Commerce
Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China
The Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China , formerly Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation is an executive agency of the State Council of China...

 which has played a central role in handling China's trade disputes with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

. Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

referred to Zhou and Li as a "Chinese power couple that the Obama administration has to watch out for in the coming years, as the U.S. tries to defend its position in the world economic pecking order."

Career


By 1986, he was working in the State Council
State Council of the People's Republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

 on economic restructuring as a member of the Economic Policy Group of the State Council and Deputy Director of the Institute of Chinese Economic Reform Research. He served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Trade from 1986 to 1989 and, between 1986 and 1991, was also a member of the National Committee of Economic Reform. Before the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

, Zhou was an associate and protege of Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

.

Between 1991 to 1995, he was executive director and vice president of Bank of China. From 1995, he assumed the position of Administrator of State Administration of Foreign Exchange. From 1996 to 1998, he served both as Deputy Governor of the People's Bank of China and Administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

During 1998 to 2000, he served as president of the China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank is one of the 'big four' banks in the People's Republic of China. To date, it is ranked as the nation's second largest and the second largest bank in the world by market capitalization and 12th largest company in the world. The bank has approximately 13,629 domestic branches...

 and oversaw the creation of asset-management companies charged with working out the banking system's bad debt. He also played a part in managing China's vast foreign exchange reserves.

From 2000 to 2002, Zhou was the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission
China Securities Regulatory Commission
The China Securities Regulatory Commission is an institution of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , with ministry-level rank...

. Whilst there, he earned the nickname Zhou "Bapi" (周扒皮) - literally Zhou "the flayer". He targeted corruption in listed companies, angering many small shareholders who saw their shares fall. In July 2001, Zhou Xiaochuan declared his intention to reduce state ownership in the stockmarket. The stockmarket quickly went into freefall, forcing him to abandon his plans that October. He emphasized the role of market mechanisms and worked to reduce red tape and aimed to protect retail investors.

In December 2002, he was appointed to his present position as governor of the People's Bank of China
People's Bank of China
The People's Bank of China is the central bank of the People's Republic of China with the power to control monetary policy and regulate financial institutions in mainland China...

 and also took over the position of chairman of monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China from January 2003. Currently, he is serving his second and final five-year term.

As leading banking authority, Zhou is in charge of clearing up some $865 billion bad loans in the Chinese banking system. Recently (as of October 2010) he has also been under pressure from the finance ministers and central bankers of the G7 countries, to revalue the Renminbi
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

 and change its exchange rate-setting mechanism.

Zhou has published a dozen monographs and over one hundred academic articles in Chinese and international journals. His articles "Rebuilding the relationship between the enterprise and the bank", "Social security: reform and policy recommendations" and book Marching toward an open economic system (走向开放型经济) have all won awards in China.

He is generally considered the most academically capable of the current Chinese leadership, being praised for his intellect and diplomacy. He has been called "China's most able technocrat" and is the only highly-ranked Chinese politician to have been published in a Western academic journal. Although he has yet to reach the highest rungs of decisionmaking within the State Council, he is considered a strong and vocal advocate of further liberalization in the financial sector. He has increasingly displayed an openness to the press - rare for a senior Chinese official - and is most famous for the motto: "If the market can solve the problem, let the market do it. I am just a referee. I am neither a sportsman nor a coach."

His career has been devoted to economic reform. To that end, Zhou has had a preference for recruiting overseas educated and trained Chinese (locally called "sea turtles"), who have experience of real capitalist markets.

Zhou had been suggested as a future premier, but some consider that he did not have the political experience. On January 15, 2006, however, the Financial Times
Financial Times
The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

of London called him "a rising political star and widely expected to be promoted to vice-premier in the next major reshuffle of top party and government posts, due in late 2007 and early 2008." This did not materialise however, with the post instead going to Li Keqiang
Li Keqiang
Li Keqiang is the First-ranking Vice-Premier and deputy Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, the seventh ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the People's Republic of China's de facto highest decision-making body...

.

International monetary system reform


On March 24, 2009, Zhou gave a speech entitled Reform the International Monetary System, in which he argued that the ongoing financial crisis was made more severe by inherent weaknesses of the current international monetary system and called for a gradual move towards using IMF Special Drawing Rights
Special Drawing Rights
Special Drawing Rights are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund . Not a currency, SDRs instead represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged...

 (SDRs) as a centrally managed global reserve currency
Reserve currency
A reserve currency, or anchor currency, is a currency that is held in significant quantities by many governments and institutions as part of their foreign exchange reserves...

. He argued that this would address the inadequacies of using a national currency as a global reserve currency, particularly the Triffin dilemma
Triffin dilemma
The Triffin dilemma is a theory that when a national currency also serves as an international reserve currency, there could be conflicts of interest between short-term domestic and long-term international economic objectives...

—the dilemma faced by issuing countries in trying to simultaneously achieve their domestic monetary policy goals and meet other countries' demand for reserve currency. Zhou explained global currency diversification was needed because an over-concentration of foreign assets denominated in the dollar may bring about undesired consequences. Zhou argued that it was regrettable that John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

's "farsighted" Bancor
Bancor
The Bancor was a supranational currency that John Maynard Keynes and E. F. Schumacher conceptualised in the years 1940-42 and which the United Kingdom proposed to introduce after the Second World War...

 proposal was not adopted at Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods system
The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states in the mid 20th century...

 in the 1940s.

Zhou also asserted China's increasing confidence in its own financial governance philosophies. He criticized western leaders for letting their banking sectors go astray due to loose regulations.

External links

Biography of Zhou Xiaochuan, Xinhuanet.